New zodiac drink is fiery in many ways.

In Japan, Starbucks sells a chilled cup series at convenience stores around the country, with new releases perfectly timed for seasonal events like hanami cherry blossom viewing.

Now with the New Year coming up, the chain is releasing a Zodiac Design Cup in honour of the upcoming zodiac year, which begins in Japan on 1 January. With 2024 being the Year of the Dragon, the design features an illustration of a dragon across the entire cup, rising upwards in a fashion that’s said to bring good luck. The red-and-white colour palette, an auspicious colour scheme used around the New Year holidays, also helps to garner fortune, along with splashes of gold, to create a design that lifts your mood during the holidays.

In keeping with the dragon’s fiery reputation, the drink itself also packs some heat by putting a Japanese twist on a chai tea latte.

▼ The drink is called “Japanese Chai Tea Latte“.

It’s customary to eat traditional Japanese food around New Year, so Starbucks wanted the drink to have a “Japanese” taste that would pair well with these types of foods. As a result, they opted to use hojicha (roasted green tea) instead of the black tea usually used in chai, and added spices like cinnamon and Japanese pepper to give it a kick of heat and a unique flavour you won’t find anywhere else.

In fact, you can’t even get this unusual combination of ingredients in actual Starbucks branches, so keep an eye out for the Japanese Chai Tea Latte when it’s released at convenience stores around the country for a limited time from 26 December, priced at 219 yen (US$1.52).

Source, images: Press release
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